May 10, 2004 4:46pm
So the Yahoo group is still going, and there's quite a nice debate going THERE about the film as well.. This is quite an astounding post about the movie that I'd thought I'd share from Holly..
Well Bill, I couldn't peg the date exactly, but I'm saying there's no
reason it it should be assigned to an earlier year. It's not as if
everyone was wearing nehru jackets one season and then
*boom*, everyone has long hair and bellbottoms the next.
Looking at fashion today, who has that much money to replace
their entire wardrobe every season? Certainly not hippies.
Besides, these are presumably students or young trendy
professionals. Their look would be "off beat", as opposed to
"radical". It's more or less what the narrator says. The film is
aimed at the fashion industry and is probably a reaction to the
brilliant new polyesters with vivid colors and iron-free wearability
-- hence the focus on "comfort" and "casual" -- something
polyesters of the day lacked.
Of course here it's obvious that the fashions were provided by
designers. I don't think there is any pretense that this young
couple brought their own clothes to the shoot. It's not realism... At
the same time, I wouldn't say that the sponsor (Cotton Institute?)
is lagging horribly behind the times, but they would be reflecting
more of the peak of fashion, somewhere well behind the
bleeding edge. The scene where the guy goes to the clothing
store to try on a jacket, and the store where the girl tries on hats?
That's who this film was made for.
But it brings up a good point: the flower power movement
brought an image of the nomad, traveling festivals, naive
naturism, a lifestyle that required much more durable clothing....
Denim would be liberated from factory and farm workers to the
dominant fashion of the next decade and beyond. I wonder what
the cotten institute would say about bluejeans circa 1975? "Why
buy trendy fashions that change from season to season, when a
pair of bluejeans will last years!" Fashion designers were
However, what I find more interesting than the fashions is the
description of GV as a "sleepy village" and "a suburban oasis".
Shots of midtown Manhattan are accompanied by car horns and
the narrator using words like "crowded" "seething" and "hectic",
despite beautiful shots of modern skyscrapers and smiling
office workers. Clearly Manhattan is a victim of suburban
propaganda (see films like THIS IS SUBURBIA). But even though
this film is trying to play on GV's reputation for bohemia as "a
step or two ahead" and "cosmopolitan", it goes to great lengths
to assure you GV is familiar and non-threatening, showing
Judsen Church (tho not the radical performance art happening
inside) and the quintescential symbol of the nuclear family:
barbeques. "Suburban living on an urban landscape". Har har
har. Where are the gaybars with sing-along drag shows? Where
are the beat poets? Oh well. At least there is some (haphazard)
racial diversity in the Washington Square Park sequence. Even
bongo and mandolin players.... Ya won't find that in suburbia.
It's all betrayed by the weird little interlude halfway through where
the narrator claims cotton is "romantic" and "of times past"
complete with harpsichord music. Probably another dig against
the ultra-modernism of polyester. This leads into more
patriotism and a litany of historic figures.... It's interesting to note
that in 1969 about a third of GV was protected by the Greenwich
Village Society for Historic Preservation ( http://www.gvshp.org
and of course GV was the battle ground between Robert Moses
and unlikely hero Jane Jacobs who fought and won to preseve
GV after the city had declaired it an ethnic "blight" and scheduled
its distruction in favor of a freeway. Perhaps - and this is a stretch
- the Cotton Institute saw a parallel in GV's preservation of
self-identity with it's own identity crisis in the wake of polyester,
and sought to re-invent itself as both defiantly radical and